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Mitchell Woman Pleads Guilty To Welfare Fraud, Sentenced To Supervised Probation
Updated June 8, 2015 8:04 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(BEDFORD) - A Mitchell woman who pleaded guilty to welfare fraud in a plea agreement was sentenced to four years in prison.

According to court records, Lawrence County Superior I Judge Michael Robbins ruled that 43-year-old Shane Duncan could serve her time on supervised probation. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $21,000 to the Social Security Administration in the amount of $200 per month. The money will come through wage garnishment. She will also perform 200 hours on road crew.

Duncan was arrested December 13 after being accused of defrauding the Social Security Administration of more than $21,000 in survivor benefits after the death of her husband. She was charged with two counts of welfare fraud, one count of theft and one count of perjury.

Duncan's husband, Monte, passed away after a battle with cancer on February 22, 2009. According to a probable cause affidavit, after his death Duncan began receiving survivor benefits for herself and her two children.

Brett M. Yonkus, a special agent for the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General's Office of Investigations in Indianapolis, began investigating Duncan this summer when two of Duncan's children visited the Bloomington Social Security office and changed the representative payee for Duncan's son because he was being cared for by an older brother.

Agents learned that neither of the couple's children, a boy and a girl, had not lived with Duncan since December 2012, but Duncan continued to claim them and receive cash benefits. Duncan had not cared for the two children for almost two years. They apparently had lived with relatives and had no contact with their mother.

Duncan was having the checks mailed to an address at 1741 Pumphouse Road. But officials say there is no home there, only a mailbox at the vacant lot. The home had not been there since 2010.

Agents say Duncan received more than $21,000; $9,201 for widow benefits and $11,810 for the children during that time frame. Agents confirmed Duncan's signature on all the checks and that she had cashed them.

Duncan is also accused of fraud because she signed paperwork stating that her son lived with her and that she had reported that she had spent more than $5,000 on his needs during a reported time period, which she had not.

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